This may not be the first AB air brake system offered in HO scale-- but it just may be the best!
The AB brake system replaced the earlier K brake system as the AAR standard design for American railroads in 1933, making it mandatory equipment on all cars built after that date. By the early 1950s, AB brakes were required on all cars used in nation-wide interchange service.
These AB parts are not modeled after parts already produced by "the other guys"-- these parts are truly scale, modeled from prototype drawings, plans, and photographs. The cylinder, reservoir, and infamously-complex AB valve are modeled with exacting scale fidelity-- you may be surprised to see how much better these parts look than those found included on high-end models! But even the lowly brake levers, with their included hangers and rod hinges, are made to AAR-standard lengths and proportions.
Use these parts to bring your current R-T-R models up to a new standard, to repair damage, or to detail a kit or scratch-building project already under way!
Included in each product are TWO complete AB brake system underbody sets-- that is, enough parts to detail two cars! The parts for each car include:
-AB valve with included air filter;
-Brake cylinder with included piston rod, B-end brake lever, and lever hangers;
-A-end brake lever with included lever hangers and an OPTIONAL included brake regulator (see VARIATIONS).
These parts are designed to be not only incredibly realistic but also easy-to-use. Because the brake levers and hangers are offered as pre-made assemblies, there is far less chance of fumbling with small parts compared to some other brake system kits-- and you can still "see through" them for an impressive side-view profile. The AB valve has its scale air filter pre-installed, also helping to keep delicate work to a minimum. All of the parts-- including the brake levers-- have pre-formed holes for the easy installation of wire pipes and brake rods as supplied by the modeler (0.012 or 0.0125 rodding is recommended). The AB valve has holes in its back for all five of its prototypical ports-- including one in the air filter itself. The B-end brake cylinder lever features a realistic printed clasp for the installation of a metal hook and handbrake chain, but it also features a hole behind that clasp for modelers interested in an even more secure attachment point.
All of the parts feature mounting pins. The brake cylinder and AB valve feature pins that will fit into #76 drill holes. The air reservoir and brake levers feature pins designed for #80 drill holes. Because the cylinder and AB valve are mounted to their sprues via their pins, be careful not to trim off the pins by mistake when removing the sprues-- although if this does happen, both of these parts feature broad flat surfaces that are still easy to glue to. Of course, all pins can also be cut off intentionally if it is desired to glue any particular component to a flat surface without using a pin hole. Because brake-mounting brackets varied by prototype, styrene plastic may be needed to create new mounting brackets for these parts, depending on the HO car being used.
In the spirit of making our brake system as easy to use as possible, our brake kits come with the option of a pre-installed brake regulator. Brake regulators were commonly found on all sorts of cars during the 1930s, '40s, and '50s and allowed a trainman to easily adjust or correct slack in a car's brake rigging. Check if your prototype used them! Although mounting positions did vary, our version comes mounted in a typical location at the end of the A-end brake lever. To purchase our brake system WITH included regulators, choose the "d10" variation-- to purchase the system WITHOUT regulators, choose "d00." That variation includes a traditional fixed mounting bracket for the A-end brake lever instead.
-Because the brake levers and hangers are made to railroad industry standards, they will fit almost any center sill without modification-- we've tried them successfully on cars from many manufacturers (Tichy center sills run a bit narrower than most, but our brakes will still fit-- see photos above). However, please note that our brake levers are not made to fit "fishbelly" center sills-- although they can be made to work with a bit of modification.
-Two complete air brake systems are included on a single sprue with each purchase. The sprue forms a cage around all of the parts to protect them during shipping. Care must be taken in cutting away the cage and removing parts from the sprues-- please separate one part at a time from the cage before removing the direct sprue connections. See illustrations above.
-The AB valve and its attached air filter feature several delicate details! To avoid unwanted damage, see photos above for recommended handling techniques for this part. (We went a bit above and beyond with this valve, figuring that, even if damaged, one of our AB valves is still better than anyone else's!)
-As always, take care when using blades to cut sprues, and enjoy using these parts!